Yi Peng: The Second Reason I Love Loy Krathong
In coordination with the Thai festival of Loy Krathong is Yi Peng, which translates to “second month” in Lanna (Northern) Thai. This festival is held on the full moon of the second month in the Lanna calendar (which just coincides with Loy Krathong). During the Yi Peng celebration, floating lanterns called “khom lois” are set free into the night sky. These lanterns comprise of a paper thin top shaped like a barrel with the bottom cut out. In place of a bottom is a fuel cell that is set on fire to help build heat to help propel the lantern into the sky; the same premise as a hot-air balloon.
There is really no words to describe how beautiful the Yi Peng lantern festival is. Wikipedia describes the night sky as “large flocks of giant jellyfish gracefully floating by through the sky.” However, experiencing the sight for myself, I truly cannot describe Yi Peng. Since it is a northern Thailand celebration, the most elaborate Yi Peng celebrations would be here in Chiang Mai. And the most breathtaking of these celebrations takes place near Mae Jo University about 45 minutes outside of the city. Here, tens of thousands of people gather together to take place in the Buddhist rituals commemorating Yi Peng and in a coordinated effort, launch thousands of floating lanterns at the same time.
There are plenty other beautiful celebrations that occur during the Yi Peng period, such as a lantern show put on by Buddhist monks at a temple inside the moat. Either way, Yi Peng and Loi Krathong is the best time to visit Northern Thailand. Walking in the city, you will stop periodically to just admire the night sky filled with a combination of fireworks and khom lois. As I said, there are no words to describe the beauty of Chiang Mai during these few nights. So check out the pictures and visit Chiang Mai during November and experience this for yourself.